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West Kelowna  

His garden to your table

New father and West Kelowna resident Ben Pallett risked it all to follow his personal and professional dream to pursue a better life for him and his family.

“I emphasize local, sustainable. I support small business and I do high-end food. All those things are probably the most important factor in what I do,” says the executive chef.

From tilling the soil, to watering the garden, harvesting his homegrown vegetables, to making his own deli meats and cooking culinary creations, Pallet aims to do it all with his new company Kitchen Sync Catering.

“I grow a lot of my products from my own garden. I know how things are made, how things are grown, and I can feel really good about selling those products to my consumers,” says Pallet.

“They also then pass on to me that they've now had some of the best foods and freshest flavours, and I can say to them 'I picked that from my garden this morning' and I can be really confident in my work.”

Pallet gave up the steady paycheque and stability of a position in one of the best kitchens in the area to pursue this dream – a decision he made for his son.

“I recently had a son and I wanted to be there for him,” says Pallett. “The way the industry is set up now is that if you are going to work in a high-end establishment very often the rest of your life will suffer. And, that is not a stage of his life I am willing to compromise on.”

“It was tough, we have definitely taken a hit financially. But, we have a such a strong support system here and it is not a huge worry for us.”

He says the decision to risk it all was nerve-wracking at first, but overwhelming support from friends and family let him know he was on the right path.

“I do paper work every day, I clean every day,” says Pallett. “So, I am like judge, jury and executioner of Kitchen Sync Catering. Everyday there is a little bit of everything. But, it is that ability to balance, to have that work/life balance, that makes this something special.”

For him this is also about sharing his passion for serving the best ingredients to his friends, family and customers. 

“I grow a lot of my own stuff and that allows me to save money, and that is something I am happy to pass along to you because I want people to purchase those products, and I want the word to get out there. It is not only a means of making a living for myself, but also raising awareness,” says Pallett.

“It is something I take very personally. This is something that strikes home as well.”

And his future is promising. Pallett says the movement for better and more sustainable quality food continues to gain speed and his company aims to meet that demand.

“You can see that even in the bigger chain food stores the sustainable ocean seafood section is getting larger and there is more advertising for it, you can see the organic sections are getting larger. This is reflective of the fact there is a demand out there – for local food, for sustainable food,” says Pallett, adding that the local farmers' markets get bigger and better every year. He believes that speaks to the demand for local and regional cuisine.

“The way information is easily shared now is raising awareness of some of the terrible practices that go on, and that is where I believe the demand has come from,” says Pallett. “Now people like me will start to pop up more frequently and hopefully give a more grassroots feel to where your food comes from.”

His venture, Kitchen Sync Catering is a 'boutique caterer' that specializes in smaller, unique events like anniversary parties, customer appreciation events, etc.

He does everything from smaller bites and tapas to multi-course plated sit-down dinners and he does everything from the ground up.

“I am open to catering in a park, or in an office or anywhere you need catering – I am happy to do it,” says Pallett. “I have been a take-home chef and I will be again, but I don't just go into homes, I go all over.”

In fact one of his favourite 'take home chef' concepts is called the 'vanishing chef'.

“You go into someone's house earlier in the day. You bring all the food and prepare it, then leave it on their stove top or in a bowl or in the oven ready to go. You clean up and disappear. Then, when their guests arrive, they put the heat on low, they pull it out of their oven and they present it as if they prepared it themselves – and the guests are none the wiser,” says Pallett.

Pallett adds that by growing and harvesting his own ingredients he pushes to embody the farm-to-table concept.

“This is something I really believe in and I am lucky enough to have the ability to chase my dream."

You can find out more about Pallett and Kitchen Sync Catering' by checking out his website here.

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